Lessons, Homework and Boredom
By the end of their first week back, the marauders had taken to walking around the corridors accompanied by their patroni. They weren't the only students doing it either. The dementors outside of the castle were having terrifying affects on the students within. By the beginning of the second week practically no one seemed to be attending breakfast and attendance in lessons was at an all time low; many students having not felt up to getting out of bed. The hospital wing was full of students who felt under the weather – most of which seemed to be crying heavily. Madam Pomfrey was at a loss. All she could do for them was give them a bar of chocolate. Her reserves were going quickly down. The marauders were pranking the other students more than ever before in an attempt to keep school morale up but nothing they did seemed to work. Even transfiguring the whole of Slytherin house into toads had done nothing to improve spirits.
The marauders were sat in the back of the care of magical creatures classroom barely paying any attention. "We were supposed to be going into the forest this lesson to begin studying the Clabbert but alas that will have to wait," Professor Kettleburn told the class, "Instead we will look at a creature that most of you will have probably seen in your gardens at home; the gnome." Much of the class groaned at the reminder of the common wizarding chore of de-gnoming the garden. "The garden gnome is a magical creature commonly known to infest the gardens of wizarding households. Found throughout Europe and North America, they are nothing like their muggle counterparts." He pulled out an inanimate statue from the cupboard behind his desks, "absolutely disgusting things…" He then grabbed a second box, this one larger. He opened the latch and let out the gnome that was inside. The gnome began scurrying around the room looking for a hole to hide in. "Gnomes are about a foot tall, usually brown in colour and have rather large heads. They live in burrows underground, where they dig up and eat the roots of plants, creating little heaps of earth around gardens – very similar to moles. Gardeners absolutely hate gnomes for ruining their perfect lawns."
"Gnomes are considered pests by the wizarding community for two reasons. Any ideas?"
James raised his hand, "first they mess up the garden and second they don't exactly help us stay inconspicuous."
"Very good Mr Potter. 10 points!" Kettleburn smiled, "Indeed – they are an easy give away of wizarding home. They speak or at the very least mumble angrily during de-gnoming. They are not particularly intelligent sadly. A Jarvey can be used to de-gnome the garden but this method is considered much too violent and thus is seldom used."
James sighed in boredom. He really wasn't paying an attention. He could see Lily out of the corner of his eye. She was taking notes. He'd never seen anyone's quill move so fast. He laughed under his breath, who would take notes about gnomes? Then it hit him, a muggle-born. He sighed, it really is a different world for her.
"For homework you will each write an essay on the Chimaera. Off you go."
They had started a new subject in divination, palmistry. James was even more sceptical of this than he was of the tea leaves and that was saying something. Lily and James had felt ridiculously awkward as they sat there holding each other's hand trying to work out what it was telling them. In defence they were studying Hinkypunks; a small, one-legged creature which appears to be formed of wispy grey smoke. James and Sirius had Quidditch practice four times a week. Cynthia had wanted to up it to six but had been stopped by Madam Hooch. As it was James was struggling to fit all his homework in. Although in fairness, no one expected him to do it anyway. Sirius had suggested getting younger students to do it for them but James had just laughed the idea off. Since they weren't allowed into the grounds, the common room was constantly busy so James had taken to spending his free periods in the Great Hall doing his homework. Sirius hadn't been impressed but even he had to admit that it was necessary if they were going to keep out of detention.
Lily and Remus were both struggling under the strain of their busy timetables. Each night they could be found working in the common room late into the night. James and Sirius had watched them from a safe distance as they finished their essays on undetectable poisons. "Bloody mental," Sirius whispered. "Why'd anyone do so many classes?"
"At least Lily hasn't got muggle studies and Remus doesn't have divination – they're not completely stupid."
"Why would she take muggle studies – she's a muggle-born," Sirius hit James across the back of the head, "muppet!"
Ravenclaw had beaten Slytherin 190 – 30 midway through the months meaning that Ravenclaw had taken Gryffindors place at the top of the league. Cynthia had become even more demanding as captain, if that was possible. "Right so when we play Ravenclaw in a few weeks we really need to play well. We're sixty points behind them. James, I don't want you to catch the snitch unless we're sixty points up. Then we'll be one hundred and fifty points ahead of them and there will be nothing they can do about it because it's their last match of the season."
The Quidditch team were sat exhausted in the Gryffindor locker room. "Right – off you go. Practice again tomorrow, same time."
James began to make his way back up to the castle. He walked with Holly Moresby, the second year keeper, "alright James?"
"Yeah you?" James replied.
"I'm half dead. She sure does play us hard. I kind of want a long bath – I ache."
"Yeah that's Keeney for you," James laughed.
"I heard a rumour that you might be captain next year," Holly smiled, "I bet you'll work us harder," she winked.
"You have no idea. Oi Moresby – you should join James for his morning workout. It's a killer," Sirius laughed.
"I might just do that. If you don't mind James. I'm a bit less fit after all that Christmas dinner," Holly smiled.
"Sure – you're more than welcome to join me," James smiled.
"6am?" James asked. He'd normally get up half an hour earlier than that but he wanted to be kind.
"HEY! How come she get's six but I get half five?" Sirius complained.
"Because she's pretty and you're a dog!" James replied.
Holly giggled gently, "I'll see you tomorrow morning then, James."